ALERT level 4 has been raised around Mayon Volcano after it has shown increased restiveness accompanied by explosions in Monday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.
The increased activity prompted Phivolcs to extend its danger zone from 7 kilometers to 8 kilometers.
Phivolcs raised the alert level at 12:43 p.m. after the volcano has been showing “increased seismic unrest, summit explosions and lava fountaining.
This behavior indicates that a hazardous explosion may occur in a matter of hours or days, according to Phivolcs.
“Because of the increased seismic activity and lava explosion, we raised [Mayon’s status] to Alert Level 4,” Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum told reporters in a press briefing.
“Pinalawak po natin ang danger zone dahil ito po ang ineestimate namin na aabutin ng pyroclastic flow bagama’t hindi pa naman natin nakikita sa ngayon ang explosions,” he added.
Pyroclastic flows are caused by a combination of gas and ashes due to the lava flow that could reach approximately 800 to 1000 degrees Celsius.
Classes were suspended in Albay early Monday afternoon following Mayon’s explosions, which Phivolcs described as “phreatomagmatic” or steam-driven eruption mixed with magma and water, resulting in a whitish-gray smoke.
“Classes in all levels, private and public, are now suspended in the whole province of Albay. Everyone is advised to wear their facemasks and to stay indoors,” Gov. Al Francis Bichara said in a statement.
When reporters asked Solidum about what to expect, he said either a lava eruption may persist or “lava fountaining” may transform into a more hazardous eruption.
“It is advised that people should prevent inhaling the fine ash which could affect their health,” Solidum added, reiterating increased vigilance in the area.